And my littlest one chatters on. And I pull my drifting mind back to him so I can be present in the moment of the chattering that is everything to him.
And he points out everything he sees. And he sees everything – especially the details I walk right past.
Children will show us everything if only we take the time to see.
And together, we love to explore these woods. Because we don’t want to just read about nature. We want to experience nature. And can we ever have enough of nature?
“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.” ~ George Washington Carver
These are the woods of my childhood. These are the woods where my horses and I shared many adventures. These are the woods that kept secrets and the woods where my brothers and I built forts and tree houses with no help from adults. These are the woods where our imagination ran as wild as the creek that borders it and the animals who live in there. These are the woods that would call to us and keep us until our momma rang the dinner bell. And these are the same woods where my future husband and I took long walks. These are the woods my grandfather and my father explored when they were boys. These are the same woods my Great-Great Uncle purchased, explored and planted walnut, peach, apple and pecan trees. They are the same woods we would share with our two sons 5 generations later. These are the woods where tobacco beds were raised up for planting because too many weeds were growing in the field. These are the woods that provided natural protection for livestock. These are the woods that provided food in the hardest of times. And now, these are the woods that provide a world of comfort, of familiarity, peace and escape…Escape from a too noisy world of expectations and busyness.
And I never tire of the same forest because it is never the same.
They are the woods I know and love. No matter how long I have been away from them. They are still home. They always welcome me.
And even though I know them by heart, they are always changing. And always offering a special something to each time I enter.
And in the winter, these woods can appear lonely at first glance. Trees stand tall and naked looking almost lifeless. But they are not lonely or dead. They are very much alive. Waiting to dance with us.
And morning time in the woods in my favorite.
Alone – breathing in the fresh morning air. Watching and listening for the forest to speak.
“If a person has nothing but nature, then nature is enough to reveal something about God.” ~Max Lucado
And in the woods everything is perfect and nothing is perfect. Trees and plants grow twisted and crooked from past storms and winds they survived. Tree tops are bare of dead leaves but full of life. Birds move excitedly along the branches singing their songs of joy. A woodpecker drills for bugs. An owl hoots in the distance. Squirrels rustle the leaves and tree bark. A rabbit hops out of my way. Turkeys call and answer.
And I give thanks for the tuning of my senses in the forest knowing HE gave it all for me to see.
(click the link to hear a little of the sounds from one of my early morning walks this week)
And though the woods speak to me like an old friend, they do not question. They do not offer opinion. They do not tell me how I should be. They simply let me “be” in this very very moment.
And I remember a 12 year old boy who loved these woods as much as I do. And I remember a boy who wanted to go into the woods but did not have the strength to walk. And I remember a daddy and a little brother cutting a wide-enough trail to the exact place an older brother wanted to go – determined to not let childhood cancer stop the life we enjoyed living together. And I remember a beat up golf cart taking him to the place he wanted to be. And I wonder now if he knew that would be his last visit to those woods? And I wonder if we knew?
And my heart aches.
Because time doesn’t erase the missing.
I amble on through the woods quietly. And I speak no words. But, HE hears. And in this stillness, I feel HIS whisper breathing power in the broken places in me. And my heart expands fully.
I see signs left behind by bear and coyotes.
It stops me from going any further alone.
And I turn back.
Back to the direction of roosters crowing.
…Determined to somehow be a testament to HIS goodness and to live this day as deliberately as these woods.